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Haiti - Politic : Michel Martelly and John Kerry, broadly converging views
This visit, which follows an invitation from the President Martelly, was an opportunity for the Haitian Head of State and Head of US diplomacy respectively accompanied by senior Haitian and US officials to discuss inter alia on the preparatives set up for the next elections in Haiti.
The United States and the Republic of Haiti expressed broadly converging views on the continuation of the electoral process to be completed by the end of this year.
After the meeting, at a joint press conference, the Secretary Kerry declared "We all know that democracy requires a great deal more than elections. But elections are the essential starting point. Haiti needs governing institutions that are legitimate and representative, and those cannot come into being without free and fair elections in which citizens take part without intimidation, without violence. Haiti's coat of arms says 'L'union fait la force,' and that unity has an enormous opportunity to be present and visible and felt in the 19 days from now that the president mentioned.
President Obama and I join together in encouraging all Haitians to go to the polls on October 25th and to be patient and to refrain from any kind of disruption. As President Martelly and I just discussed, violence and intimidation have no place in the election process. The Haitian people I know deserve much better than that. So the United States and other members of the international community will be working with the Provisional Electoral Council to support what we hope will be a smoother and more fully peaceful process than what took place on August 9th.
I want to congratulate Haiti's government, President Martelly, and his cabinet, for the increased budget support that they are giving to the balloting. And you can be certain that American contributions, more than 30 million for the full electoral cycle, will continue as well.
In closing, I just want to reaffirm the very deep and unwavering friendship that the people of the United States have for the people of Haiti. We want the October elections and later rounds to go well because we want you to take the next big step towards a flourishing economy and the kind of vibrant, democratic system that your citizens need and deserve. And it is important to note that it is only through elections that a legitimate transfer of power can take place.
[...] The United States condemns any violence, and we encourage full participation in the election process. Let me be very clear: I said earlier the only way to have a change of government is through the election process. And that is the way to have a legal and legitimate transition which attracts the support of the international community.
And there will automatically be a transition because President Martelly is not running again. So in order to attract business and investment and change the course of Haiti, we strongly urge people to embrace the opportunity of these next 19 days to campaign, to speak out, to organize, and then to go to the vote – to the polls and vote peacefully and with determination to unite for the course of Haiti."
For his part, President Martelly declared "I laud the help the United States gives us for the electoral process, this which must end at the end of this year – that both governments are both attached to the process, and we want to respect the date of October 25th, and we want the presidential power be transferred from elected official to elected official, according to the date requested by the constitution. I say this because at the last elections which were held in May – normally I should have finished my mandate in 2016 – May 2016, but to go back to the proper time, I have myself decided to allow that the new president takes over February 7th, 2016, as foreseen by the constitution.
The democratic exercise of August 9th was far from perfect. Structural problems were made manifest in our political system. The CEP has engaged itself, and we encouraged it to correct everything that can be corrected so that the elections which will take place in 19 days should be better. On its part, the government continues to do everything possible to make sure the process goes better. The help to the Haitian police will be reinforced so that it is more efficacious on the day of the vote. Haiti is already turned towards the future. We are convinced that democratic (inaudible) is the only way possible and the only foreseeable path."